Second Amendment rights 
require responsible training

There’s good news and bad news on the firearms front in Colorado. The good news is that requests for concealed weapons permits in Colorado are up 87 percent over last year. It’s good people are exercising their Second Amendment rights, and familiarity with firearms is a useful talent.

The bad news is that 87 percent more people in Colorado this year, compared to last year, think they need to carry firearms for personal protection. Personally, I think that’s fine, but ideally we’d like to live in a world where we didn’t feel like we have to pack heat to go out to get nachos.

The mechanism we established among ourselves to further that a long time ago, before TV and perhaps even before movies, was government. That’s right, government wasn’t created to provide healthy snacks and seatbelt buzzers or tell you how many miles per gallon your car should churn out.

It was a nice idea, but anymore it seems people can’t decide whom they’re more afraid of, the obvious bad guys or the people who tell us they’re the good guys but also want to steal things — such as our liberty. Trust in government to do the right thing or anything efficiently is at rock-bottom levels, so it stands to reason folks feel self-help might prove useful when it comes to personal protection.

When you drill down a little bit, it also becomes apparent that a lot of people aren’t so sure that bureaucratic agencies are all that interested in protecting them. Maybe they don’t belong to the right social class, voting demographic or political support group.

Another reason for rising interest in personal protection is that in Colorado there is still the belief that firearms are essentially a neutral item when it comes to harm. Since it is impossible to stop the wrong people from having firearms or something else deadly, the best choice is to make sure the right people have them at the right time.

Two things make this possible: the law and personal responsibility. The first should be obvious, while it may be a right of citizens to possess a firearm they don’t have the right to behave with it any way they want. We all have arms and legs but we don’t get to do whatever we want to with them.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” I would add, if someone is being attacked, the right to swing that fist probably continues an inch or so past the end of the other’s nose.

The point remains, nevertheless, that one must act responsibly with whatever tool or appendage one is utilizing (e.g. Anthony Weiner). Therefore, if you use or carry a firearm, do yourself a favor and get some training.

Colorado requires a fairly low amount of training to receive a concealed weapons permit, but that doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with it. Better training might save your life or someone else’s. Minimal training and practice leads to minimal results, and just carrying a weapon every day doesn’t mean you’re proficient with it.

The last couple of years, some large coastal police departments have had serious problems with bystanders and arrestees injured by police with poor fire and target control.

Our local officers — I know this to be the case — often receive substantially more training in the use of their firearms and are more proficient than some in much larger departments. There are many reasons for this but mainly, in this part of the country, we don’t believe simply hanging something on your belt allows you to know how to use it. Just look at people with cell phones.

The law may allow you to carry a weapon and defend yourself, but it’s also going to judge your reasonableness in using it. Don’t interject yourself into situations, and don’t think brandishing a sidearm is going to calm a situation down. And, for Lord’s sake, don’t put Grim Reapers and skulls on your carry pistols. Funny for your friends but imagine them shown to a jury deciding your state of mind.

More of us want to exercise our rights and that’s good, but don’t forget the responsibilities.

Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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